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Chang Thai

True Thai delight in a strip mall atmosphere

Pumpkin Curry will satisfy the Pacific Northwesterners’ penchant for tasty gourds. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: By now you may be wondering, do Dutch and Jackie love Asian fare, or what? Clearly, the answer is yes and luckily, there is no shortage of exotic dining options here in the South Sound. This week our two foodies hit up newly opened, Chang Thai in Lakewood.

JACKIE: Tucked among the strip malls, smackdab between a floral shop and the liquor store, you'll spy the unassuming, Chang Thai. Décor includes booths lining each wall and a makeshift server station and register towards the back of the house. While the interior isn't anything fancy-shmancy, if you're a lover of Thai cuisine, this place will not disappoint. I began with the Chicken Satay. Uber reasonably priced, these skewers are accompanied by a delectable peanut sauce and some julienned veggies. It was a nice nibble before moving on to the entrée round.

DUTCH: The crispy eggrolls were also priced right at just $4.95. Crunchy little bites full of fresh cabbage, carrots and celery mixed with ground chicken and bean thread noodles. If the subtle balance of Thai flavors isn't enough, give the spicy dipping sauce a shot, and it will add the needed kick. Additionally, as a side dish, I ordered the sweet sausage fried rice. Large enough to feed two, the balance of sweet and spicy is most evident in this dish. Traditional Thai spiced fried rice with egg and green onions are mixed with a sweet pork sausage, and then topped with shredded pork, which is also sweet.

I had to have the Pumpkin Curry ... because, like any true Pacific Northwesterner, I am a lover of this tasty gourd. The dish can be ordered on a spice level of one to four stars, and because I wanted to savor the delicate autumn flavor of the pumpkin, I ordered a two, which boasted a nice heat that built with each bite. Chang Thai is accommodating towards those with dietary restrictions and offer tofu in lieu of meat, if preferred. A rich, creamy curry sauce sets the foundation for green and red bell peppers, your choice of protein and large, tender chunks of grilled pumpkin. It's a glorious matrimony for the chill in the air outside, and warms you right up. A side of jasmine rice accompanied mine, though I didn't specify I wanted some, it's necessary and comes at a nominal additional charge.

DUTCH: I went more traditional with the chicken Pad Thai. I enjoy the mix of sweet, salty and sour that defines this favorite dish of stir-fried rice noodles adorned with peanuts, bean sprouts and green onions. Again, though large enough to feed two, I found myself finishing the whole plate as I just kept telling myself "Ok, just one more bite." I have no regrets.

JACKIE: Also, Thai Iced Coffee! I'm pretty sure I did a happy dance in my booth. I can't help the excitement; it is one of my favorite treats. If you opt for grub on the go, they have to-go cups for your coffee, too.

DUTCH: I had the exact same reaction to my iced coffee.

Chang Thai
, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Friday; noon-9 p.m., Saturday; closed Sunday, 8215 Steilacoom Blvd., Lakewood, 253.507.7696 

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